Christmas Dinner: A Dry-Brined and High-Heat Upside Down Turkey

Merry Christmas!

Today, for our Christmas dinner 2009, we’ll be cooking a 14-lb Diestel turkey that we’ve dry-brined this week using this recipe from an article in the Los Angeles Times. Dry brining requires thinking ahead – like three days ahead when the turkey needs to be salted and tucked away in the back of the refrigerator.

We’ll be cooking the bird today using our high-heat upside down roast turkey recipe, a family favorite that produces wonderful results.

Friends are bringing a couple of side dishes to have along with the stuffing we’ll be making. Yum! – getting hungry already!

Update: Just a quick note to report that the Christmas turkey turned out to be excellent – moist white meat, great flavor! Our little experiment in dry-brining the holiday bird was a big success! Thanks to Russ Parsons for his article and recipe!

Some Tips on Pinot Noir for Thanksgiving Dinner

Last week, the Wall St. Journal’s Tastings column by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher features a list of pinot noirs they recommend for Thanksgiving dinner.

While they personally say they prefer a great aged Cabernet Sauvignon with their turkey, many folks prefer the lighter Pinot Noir. They note that “Pinot Noir, at its best, has elegant, sometimes earthy tastes that would pair well with Thanksgiving dinner without adding yet another big, challenging taste to the table.”

What’s on their list? (Click here for the complete article):

We’re also partial to the Navarro Pinot Noir Méthode à l’Ancienne from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino county. Navarro is one of our favorite wineries and their Pinot is a delight! Enjoy!

Are you doing the cooking the turkey this Thanksgiving and looking for a great recipe? Be sure to checkout our all-time most popular recipe: Scott’s High Heat Upside-Down Roast Turkey Recipe!

Looking for something other than turkey? Here’s another all-time favorite: Scott’s ‘Lazy-S’ Easy Oven-Roasted Tri-Tips!

Scott’s Less Famous But Still Tasty Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup

It’s late on Thanksgiving weekend (back to work tomorrow – ugh!) and time to use up some of those turkey leftovers making homemade turkey noodle soup.

Unlike us, braver souls actually make turkey stock from the bird’s carcass on Thanksgiving evening (frankly, we were falling asleep after dinner and struggled to get just some of the dishes cleaned up that night!). But, if you’re looking for that real turkey noodle soup make from real homemade turkey stock, be sure to checkout Elise’s Mom’s Turkey Soup!

In our case, we took the easy way, just slightly modifying our Scott’s Famous Homemade Chicken Soup with Pasta recipe by replacing the chicken with turkey.

In our just made Sunday afternoon version, we also tossed in some left over green beans and sauteed some special cremini mushrooms that we also had left over from the Thanksgiving feast. They all went into the pot.

We also used rotini pasta again – rotini is turning into our favorite pasta in soup for its ability to fit easily into a soup spoon when eating! So much easier to eat than real noodles!

So, that’s it. Our “less famous”, easy homemade turkey noodle soup. Still delicious – and very helpful in cleaning out some of the refrigerated leftovers from Thanksgiving!

Scott’s High Heat Upside-Down Roast Turkey Recipe

iStock_000000321397XSmall.jpgFor our Christmas family dinner this year, we roasted a 12-lb turkey that turned out delicious. For the first time, we tried a new technique consisting of roasting the bird upside down (breasts down) and high-heat kickoff followed by a two step heat reduction while roasting (a total of 3 different temperatures are used). All you do is manage time and temperature – nothing could be simpler.

In the past, we’ve done brining and that works well to yield a moist bird. But the high-heat upside-down approach used here delivered just about the best, most moist turkey we’ve tasted – without the hassles of brining. Note: I kind of had to give up brining – my wife just can’t stand the thought of open bowls of water and poultry in our refrigerator – she sees salmonella dancing everywhere around! Besides, as she says, there’s never enough room in the ‘frig anyway at this time of year!

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